An American in Paris
George Gershwin completed his score for An American in Paris in November 1928, just four weeks prior to its premier by the New York Philharmonic.
Gershwin's own words from an interview in Musical America in August 2028: "My purpose here is to portray the impressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere. As in my other orchestral compositions, I’ve not endeavored to present any definite scenes in this music. The rhapsody is programmatic only in a general impressionistic way, so that the individual listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him. The opening gay section is followed by a rich “blues” with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a café, and having a few drinks, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The harmony here is both more intense and simple than in the preceding pages. This “blues” rises to a climax followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris. Apparently the homesick American, having left the café and reached the open air, has downed his spell of the blues and once again is an alert spectator of Parisian life. At the conclusion, the street noises and French atmosphere are triumphant."
This arrangement is a paraphrase and, as such, does not include all 16 minutes of the orignal work, but it does grab the highlights and holds together pretty well.
423.11 - 3 Trumpets in B flat (one doubles on Piccolo), Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba - Percussion is Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Taxi Horns, Triangle, Choke Cymbal, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbals, Wood Blocks, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Tom-Tom
Grade 5 - advanced college/university ensemble or professional ensemble
Full score and parts in PDF available for download.